Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.
The Monongahela mayor, who was arrested on Tuesday on a charge of theft by deception when a Washington County couple accused him of not repaying a loan of nearly $4,000, said he did not steal the money.
“I am not a thief,” said Robert Kepics, 56, who was taken to the Washington County Jail, then released when a bondsman posted bail. “I'm on disability. I only make $1,400 a month. I have been trying to pay back as much as I can.”
Kepics, a former Monongahela city councilman who was elected mayor in 2008, was charged after a New Eagle couple, John and Shirley Amon, filed a complaint with District Judge Mark Wilson in Monongahela that states that Kepics borrowed $3,935 from them on April 25, 2011.
The Amons said he repaid $1,400 seven months later, promising to get the rest soon. They said he agreed in July to try to repay $100 a month but has only made two payments, the last one in September.
Court papers show the charge was approved by the Washington County District Attorney's Office.
“I was making payments to these people. I have the receipts,” said Kepics, who called the Amons friends who lived in the same neighborhood where he was raised.
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